It’s not uncommon for Fire Chief’s, much like successful CEO’s, to continue to advance their career when opportunities arise. Due to his successes, Fort Myers Beach Fire Chief Matt Love is a much sought after Fire Chief.
Love is one of four finalists for the Fire Chief job in Loveland, Colorado. Loveland, a town of about 80,000 people, is located 46 miles north of Denver.
Chief Love has been a Fire Chief since 2009. He’s been the Fort Myers Beach Fire Chief since 2016. He notified the Fire Board Wednesday night that he was being considered for the job in Colorado. From the list of other finalists for the Colorado job, none carry the title of Fire Chief as Love does.
Fire Board Member Jim Knickle had nothing but praise for Love after hearing about the possibility of losing him at a Fire Board meeting this week. “I am a retired police executive and in my 40 year career I worked and interacted with numerous Public Safety Executives and I can say unequivocally that Chief Matthew Love is the finest Chief Executive with whom I have ever worked. I think we are very fortunate to have Chief Love here at Fort Myers Beach. I understand and support Chief Love in his career advancement goals but I personally would prefer he remain here at Fort Myers Beach. I appreciate that a decision like this is more than just a career move. He also has to consider the impact on his family. Other agencies have approached Chief Love in the past. No decision regarding this inquiry has been made. While the discussions the Board had at Wednesday’s public meeting regarding this matter may have been prompted by this most recent inquiry, the discussions were also to help us prepare a succession plan in conjunction with our overall Strategic Plan.”
Love is from Colorado where he served with the Colorado Springs Fire Department and formerly taught as an adjunct professor for the Colorado Community College system. Chief Love was awarded by the Colorado Springs Fire Department for his creation of the Firefighter Seatbelt Safety Program, “25 Percent- Simply Preventable.”
Chief Love was awarded the State of Florida District Manager of the Year Award for 2020, from the Florida Association of Special Districts. He was also selected by the Fire Chiefs’ Association of Lee County Florida as Fire Chief of the Year in 2019. He’s earned the distinguished Chief Fire Officer Designation by the Center for Public Safety Excellence, and is a graduate of the United States Fire Administration’s National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program. Chief Love has been accepted into the Harvard Kennedy School for Senior Executives in State and Local Government and is scheduled to earn the Harvard Executive Certificate in Public Leadership, in 2021.
The Loveland Fire Department has been searching for a replacement for former chief Mark Miller who retired in July. The Loveland Fire Rescue Authority is holding another round of interviews with the 4 finalists next week. A reception with all four candidates is being held Tuesday, August 17 so the public can meet the four candidates.